Commissioners to consider incentives, west Rowan ambulance
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - A Rowan County business is seeking incentives for an expansion that would add 90 jobs to its workforce.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will consider an inventive grant for Freshouse at 3 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building.
According to a memo from Robert Van Geons to commissioners, Freshouse has operated a packaging and distribution operation at 216 Julian Road for nearly 15 years. The company currently has 116 full-time and 7 part-time employees.
This proposed project would create 90 new positions and add $6.3 million of new investment in Rowan County. It would retain 123 existing jobs and create 90 new positions.
"Freshouse leases the Julian Road facility and needs to relocate due to the nature of its current space," Van Geons wrote. "The company is looking to expand operations, in order to gain cost savings in a competitive global market."
Freshouse is considering buying the vacant building at 311 Long Meadow Drive and establishing a new location there. It would move out of the leased facility on Julian Road.
RowanWorks requests a five-year grant for the company totaling 75 percent of the real and personal property tax revenue anticipated to be generated by the project.
Van Geons said the company is looking at other sites in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.
"With your support, we hope to convince Freshouse that Rowan County is the best choice for this expansion of employment and investment," he wrote.
Also Monday, commissioners plan to:
• Consider approval of a six-month budget for a proposed new West Rowan ambulance station. The station would cost $576,703, including $178,343 in personnel costs for six new positions over six months.
A temporary structure would be built on land owned by the Cleveland Fire Department, according to a letter to County Manager Gary Page from Emergency Services Chief Frank Thomason. The county would use the site for up to five years while a new fire station facility is constructed that would included permanent quarters for EMS.
"At the time of completion of the permanent facility, the temporary project facility would be available for relocation/reuse as a replacement or additional EMS station site elsewhere," Thomason wrote.
• Consider converting the Rowan Transit Systems fleet to a dual fuel system of propane and gasoline.
In a memo to Page, director Gary Price said the alternative fuel would be cheaper and burn cleaner than gasoline. If 10 vehicles are converted, a propane pump could be placed on site.
The cost of each conversion system installed is either $5,800 or $6,200, depending on chassis and engine configuration. There is no out-of-pocket expense to Rowan County, Price said, and the department would lease the systems until they are paid for and become county property.
• Hear an announcement regarding Rowan County's transparency rating.
• Approve a resolution for an airport grant for land for a runway protection zone and perimeter fencing.
• Approve an amendment of county's appointment process for its boards and commissions. The change would allow the board clerk to automatically re-advertise a vacancy, sending anotification to commissioners, if it receives an application for reappointment of an individual whose term limits have expired.
• Consider approval of budget amendments.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.